Time to Get Positive About Reviews

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One of the most popular posts to our blog last week reported on Google’s plans to display product ratings and reviews in its search results and through its advertising programs. The new program is rolling out as a partnership with industry leader Bazaarvoice, which will provide Google with the user-generated ratings and reviews the company gathers on behalf of its clients.

Google said in last week’s announcement that the program would likely be adding other vendors in addition to Bazaarvoice, and that a model for merchants to submit their own reviews was also a strong possibility. The gist for e-commerce professionals is that ratings and reviews have become an increasingly important part of the online selling environment, and this latest news from Google represents an opportunity that should not be missed.

To ensure that your business gets the visibility it deserves, we recommend that you closely follow the latest trends in user ratings and reviews. As Google’s newest partner, Bazaarvoice is an excellent place to start, and today’s newsletter looks at some of the other players who could figure into the mix.

PowerReviews, like Bazaarvoice, offers a full set of ratings and review solutions for its e-commerce clients. The company’s “tag-based” system is designed to direct consumers toward reviews written by users with similar lifestyles and experience levels with a particular product or service. This Affinity Reviews system is based on years of psychographic consumer segmentation to match reviewers and consumer lifestyles for numerous product categories. PowerReviews asserts that this research and technology has resulted in statistically higher conversion rates for clients who use their services, as they provide “more engaging, more personalized reviews” than what’s available today. There is also a platform specifically designed and priced for smaller e-commerce retailers, called PowerReviews Express.

While Bazaarvoice and PowerReviews provide ratings and reviews solutions for e-commerce professionals, there is a plethora of consumer-targeted review sites worth keeping an eye on. Epinions is just one destination for consumers to find reviews of specific products before making a purchase. If shoppers are satisfied with the reviews they find on Epinions, they can click on a “latest prices” button that will list the online retailers carrying the product.

RateItAll is a social destination for consumers to share their opinions of items and services found online. More than just products, this site has user-generated ratings and reviews about restaurants, people, places, movies, music, etc. Growing fast, RateItAll had nearly 15 million visitors in 2009, and it has about five million reviews currently in its database.

Sazze is smaller than RateItAll in terms of number of reviews available, but it’s growing and claims to operate on the philosophy that “quality is better than quantity” anyway. Sazze is another social destination for users to voice their likes and dislikes about products they’ve purchased online, and users gain higher status by having their reviews rated favorably by other users. Quality is based on the number of “helpful” votes that a certain user receives.

Wize.com is a site that gathers ratings and reviews from other sources and consolidates them for easier navigation by consumers. Wize gathers user reviews of certain products from retail outlets like Amazon, Walmart and Circuit City, then analyzes the reviews and gives consumers their determination of a product’s pros, cons, best uses, and features that matter the most.

Crowdstorm is a U.K. review site with the similar goal of streamlining the process for shoppers, particularly when they come across conflicting reviews. Crowdstorm attempts to aggregate content from experts and blend it with advice in a question/answer forum. The company’s vision is to provide a single point of contact in helping consumers research products.

 
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